I met Sri Tarun Gogoi ji probably in 2002 in Hyderabad where he came for National Games Meet. I was mesmerised by observing his simplicity and innocent smile. He was born on 1st April 1936 in an ethnic Assamese Tai-Ahom family at Rangajan Tea Estate, erstwhile Sivasagar District, now under Jorhat district of Assam. His father, Dr Kamaleshwar Gogoi was a medical practitioner at Rangajan Tea Estate and mother, Smt. Usha Gogoi, younger sister of the renowned poet Sri Ganesh Gogoi. Sri Tarun Gogoi was ‘Tarun’ means young by heart and soul and fondly called Punakon by his parents.
He held important positions from his young age inter alia of which were- a) Member, Municipal Board, Jorhat, b) Served six terms as Member of Parliament (MP) in Lok Sabha, c) Became political leader with national stature after he was elected Joint Secretary of All India Congress Committee (AICC) in 1976 and that time Smt. Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister d) He later served as General Secretary of the AICC (1985–90) and that time Prime Minister was Sri Rajiv Gandhi, e) He also served in the Union Cabinet as Union Minister of State in Food and Food Processing Industry (1991–96) under the Prime Minister of Sri P. V. Narasimha Rao, f) Sri Gogoi was elected Chief Minister of Assam in 2001 after that he led the Indian National Congress to victory in the state elections, g) He assumed the office of Chief Minister, Assam first time on 18 May 2001, then on 14 May 2006 (second term) and for the third term on 18 May 2011. It is pertinent to mention that he completed 15 consecutive years as Chief Minister of Assam on 18 May 2016, as the longest serving Chief Minister of the State. He was also Director, Vayudoot; Member, Bar Council of Assam and Chairman, Assam Small Industries Development Corporation.
His educational qualifications included graduation from Jagannath Barooah College, Jorhat, Assam and L.L.B. from Gauhati University. He was a visionary and had development attitude which is evident from this quote, “Our Government is making all-out effort for development of Guwahati city. Work is on feasibility study and preparation of a detailed project report for the metro rail project. A sewerage project for Rs. 1,700 crore, streetlights for all major roads, affordable houses for 10,000 urban poor are in the pipeline”. Sri Gogoi travelled many countries but his favourite pastime was reading and gardening. He had special interest in golf, cricket, football and tennis. He is survived by his wife Smt, Dolly Gogoi, a post-graduate in Zoology, Gauhati University. They have two children – daughter Ms. Chandrima Gogoi, MBA and son, Sri Gaurav Gogoi, presently, a Member of Parliament. Sri Gogoi always used to celebrate his birthday in a simple manner indicating simplicity of his life.
He although has passed away on 23 November 2020 but he will be in the heart of millions generation after generation. May his soul rest in peace and praying Almighty to give strength to the family members so that they can bear this great loss.
Dr Shankar Chatterjee, Hyderabad
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